Internet Gambling: Prevalence, Patterns, Problems, and Policy Options

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Wood, Robert T.
Williams, Robert J.
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Final Report prepared for the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre; Guelph, Ontario
Beginning in the early to mid-1990s, as Internet access expanded into workplaces and private residences, gamblers in Western societies were introduced to a new realm of gambling opportunities, based on the Internet. Each of the traditional forms of gambling, widely available in land-based venues, soon appeared in electronic format over the Internet, and have since been easily accessible to any person with an Internet connection and means of electronically transferring money. Virtually mediated casino games, slot machines, bingos, lotteries, sports wagering, horse race betting, and skill games are all now readily accessible, with new forms of gambling and new ways of remote gambling (e.g., interactive television) continually being added. While Internet gambling is becoming a more socially acceptable and legally available activity, the expansion of Internet gambling is outpacing peoples' understanding of the phenomenon, as well as outpacing many of the laws that are supposed to regulate gambling activity. Consequently, we find ourselves in a situation where we have insufficient knowledge of online gambling, including the characteristics of gamblers, the dynamics of Internet gambling behavior, the potential link between Internet gambling and problem gambling, and the most appropriate regulatory and legislative stance to take with respect to Internet gambling. In light of persisting ambiguities and gaps in the existing academic and policy literature, the present report comprises one of the most thorough academic examinations of Internet gamblers to date. The first part of the report provides a context for the present investigation by providing a comprehensive review of the history of Internet gambling, the current worldwide situation, regulatory frameworks for Internet gambling in different jurisdictions, and concerns with Internet gambling. The second part of the report discusses results from two surveys. The first survey is a random digit dial (RDD) Telephone Survey of 8,498 Canadian adults conducted from January 2006 to June 2007 ('Canadian Telephone Survey'). The second survey is an online self-administered survey of 12,521 adults, from 105 countries, conducted from June to December 2007 ('International Online Survey'). These surveys collected information about people‟s demographic characteristics, land-based gambling behaviour, Internet gambling behaviour, stock market gambling, attitudes toward gambling, motivations for gambling on the Internet, gambling fallacies, and problem gambling as assessed by the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI). The International Online Survey also served as an intervention, as participants were provided with detailed feedback about their gambling behaviour relative to others, a projection of their yearly expenditures, explanations of why certain beliefs they held were gambling fallacies, their risk for becoming a problem gambler, their current score on the Canadian Problem Gambling Index (CPGI), Internet links to treatment resources, and a demonstration of how their predictive ability for random events is no better than chance, and how there is no relationship between their prediction confidence and prediction success.
Internet gambling , Internet gambling -- Canada
Wood, R. T., & Williams, R. J. (2009). Internet gambling: Prevalence, Patterns, problems, and policy options. Final Report prepared for the Ontario Problem Gambling Research Centre; Guelph, Ontario.